Going on a train journey can be part of an exciting day out for the family but what if you haven’t bought a certain member because you didn’t think they were allowed to come? Dogs are often left at home when they could quite easily come along with you. Why should they miss out?
Well, now they can. It has long been allowed but often not known, that dogs can travel on trains. In fact, most train operators in the UK will gladly welcome dogs on board without charge!
There are a few exceptions though and it would be worth noting those so you can avoid any potential penalties.
Can dogs travel on trains in the UK?
Yes. For the most part, dogs are free to travel on trains using the UK rail network. In most cases, you are able to bring up to two dogs on the train and you won’t have to pay for them. Some of the railway companies allow you to bring additional dogs on board but will expect a fee for the extra dogs joining you on the journey.
There are though, as mentioned in our intro, a few restrictions which in some cases means dogs will not be allowed on a train at all.
When are dogs not allowed on trains?
There are a few train companies that simply won’t allow dogs on trains at all, whilst some put rules into force where dogs are allowed but only at certain times or only when they are in a suitable container.
Currently, in the UK, six railway companies have exceptions in place. These are:
- Eurostar- No dogs allowed.
- Midland Metro- No dogs allowed.
- Manchester Metrolink- No dogs allowed.
- Glasgow Subway- Dogs may travel but only in a secure container.
- Sheffield Supertram- Dogs may travel but only in a secure container.
- Northern Ireland Railway- Dogs may travel but not before 930 a.m. on any day of the week.
Can dogs travel on a train on a lead?
Where some trains operate a no-lead policy where the dog must be stored in a suitable dog travel crate/container, others allow the dog to join you on the train but only when on a lead. The train companies that are part of National Rail that allow dogs on leads on their trains are:
- Abellio Scotrail
- Avanti West
- Caledonian Sleeper*
- Chiltern Railways
- East Midlands trains
- Gatwick Express
- Grand Central
- Greater Anglia
- Great Northern
- Great Western Railway
- Hull trains
- London North Eastern Railway
- South Western Railway
- TransPennine Express
- Transport for Wales
- West Midlands Trains
*On this train, dogs are not allowed in any seated area.
Where can dogs go on a train?
As you can see, there are a substantial number of trains that dogs can travel on. However, there are still rules that you must adhere to to allow the dog to travel with you.
Dogs are not allowed on a seat, or a table and are not permitted to enter any buffet car or restaurant area of a train. Guide dogs may be permitted but it is best to check with the train company in advance.
First-class tickets can make a slight difference too. Holders of these tickets can allow their dogs into lounge cars on Great Western and London North Eastern trains. On Avanti trains, dogs can enter the first-class area where food and drink can be served to your seat.
Rules for dogs on National Rail trains
On a National Rail train your dog must be on a lead, or in a fully enclosed carrier or basket. In addition:
- Baskets must not exceed 85cmX60cmX60CM but be big enough for your dog to stand up and lie down easily.
- Your dog must be kept on a lead or kept in the pet carrier throughout the entire journey including when at the station.
- Dogs will be restricted from entering any area serving food unless specifically allowed by the train company.
- Dogs will not be allowed to sit on seats.
- Dogs must be kept under control and where they cause nuisance you may be asked to move to another part of the train or leave the train at the next stop.
When do you have to pay for dogs to go on a train?
In many cases, where dogs are allowed on the train, you will not have to pay, as long as you have no more than two dogs with you. Should you need to transport more than two dogs, extra fees may apply. This varies per service provider and the companies that charge for the additional dogs do so as follows:
Greater Anglia: Extra dogs are charged at half the adult fare for the type of ticket you hold. Maximum of £5 for single and £10 for return.
Great Western Railway: Same as above.
SouthEastern: Same as above
London North Eastern Railway: Extra dogs cost £5 each.
Avanti West Trains: Extra dogs cost £5 each.
Keeping your dog happy and safe on the train
Now that you know your dog can travel with you, it would be best to make sure it can enjoy the journey as much as you. With that in mind, avoid rush hour, with it being so busy, you not only look likely to cause distress to your dogs, but you may also cause the same for some passengers.
Travelling on public transport can be hot and stuffy. Our country isn’t known for its fantastic rail service! So, bring a bottle of water and a portable water bowl to help hydrate your dog. You may also want to go out for a decent walk beforehand. This may tire the dog out a little and allow it to rest whilst on the journey. It also allows for a toilet break before your journey starts.
You may also want to find an emptier section of the train. This not only helps your dog feel safer and more secure with fewer people around but it will also stop it from disturbing other passengers.
Wipes and poo bags can also be a worthwhile item to bring with you too. Although the pre-travel walk may have helped somewhat, moving between platforms can make a dog think it is outside and therefore want to sneak in a quick toilet stop before you proceed. Always clean up if this happens as you can be fined if you don’t!
Remember not to feed your dog too soon before travel either, this can vary between dogs but even as long as 3 hours before a journey isn’t always enough. This is because the movement can cause sickness and with a full tummy, it could get very messy.
Finally, assist your dog on and off the train, some animals are easily confused by new or unusual surroundings and may need a little extra guidance.
Dog travel can be stressful no matter where you are in the world but if you follow our tips above, train travel for dogs in the UK should be relatively easy and worry-free. If you are aiming to go further afield though, contact PBS Pet Travel. We specialise in helping take your dog anywhere in the world. We even help with the animal health certificate and all the other paperwork associated with pet relocation. Our expert team can make flying less stressful for dogs as well as help you find suitable ferries for dogs. Simply get in touch with us today to find out how we can make it easy for your dog to travel across the globe!